Tokyo Olympics to allow up to 10,000 Japanese spectators

Olympic Rings
(Image credit: FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite COVID-19 concerns, organizers of the Tokyo Olympics will allow up to 10,000 spectators in Japan to attend the games.

Organizers announced Monday that maximum attendance for the games will be capped at either 10,000 people or at 50 percent of a venue's capacity, The Washington Post reports. Spectators will be required to wear face masks, and they'll be asked to refrain from shouting or talking loudly, BBC News reports. Fans are also being told to go straight home after attending the games, per The Associated Press.

This comes after spectators from overseas were previously barred from the Olympics, which were delayed one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though it had been undecided whether fans in Japan could attend. Monday's decision was made despite the fact that a panel of medical experts recently said the "least risky" option would be to have no spectators, and the experts also said the cap should be below 10,000 if domestic spectators were to be permitted, according to the Post.

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"There is a risk the movement of people and opportunities to interact during the Olympics will spread infections and strain the medical system," the experts said.

Plans to hold the Olympics this summer faced opposition in Japan over the past few months as the country dealt with another COVID-19 wave and a slow vaccine rollout, though infection rates have fallen by about 70 percent since the end of April, according to The Wall Street Journal. Vaccination rates have also increased, with the country administering almost one million doses a day, The New York Times reports.

The Post notes, though, that Organizing Committee President Seiko Hashimoto says that should there be any "abrupt change in the situation," such as a new state of emergency being declared, "all the options, including no spectator games, will be examined by the stakeholders."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.